Militant attack on Bangladesh Eid festival kills four, wounds nine

07 Jul, 2016 3:07 pm

DHAKA – Militants attacked Bangladeshi police guarding the country’s biggest festival marking the end Ramadan, killing four people and wounding nine, days after Islamic State claimed a major attack in the capital and warned of more violence.

The militants attacked a police post in Kishoreganj town, about 140 km from the capital, Dhaka, with small bombs and then set upon police with “sharp weapons”, said chief district administrator, Mohammad Azimuddin Biswas.

One policemen was killed in the blast and another was stabbed to death. Two attackers were killed, said district council administrator Zillur Rahman.

Up to 300,000 people had gathered for a prayer service to mark the Eid al-Fitr festival in the town at the time of the violence, nearly a week after militants killed 20 people in an attack on a cafe in Dhaka claimed by Islamic State. “There is panic here,” said an officer at the police control room in Kishoreganj soon after the attack began.

It was not clear how many attackers had been involved but Rahman said they were believed to have been young, probably in their early twenties.

The situation had been brought under control, he said. “We are still checking for other miscreants but after this incident, prayers were held peacefully and we have asked everyone to go home,” Rahman said.

A religious leader due to attend the prayer service, Maulana Farid-uddin Masud, had recently denounced militancy and led a drive to collect signatures condemning it as un-Islamic.

Masud was preparing to go to the site when the attack took place. “It is likely that they targeted me as I have received previous threats,” he said by telephone. “It is their strategy to create panic.”

Last Friday, five young militants killed 20 people, most of them foreigners, in an attack on a cafe in the capital claimed by Islamic State.

It was one of the deadliest attacks ever in Bangladesh, where al Qaeda and Islamic State have made competing claims for a series of killings of liberals and members of religious minorities in the past year.

The government dismissed the claim from Islamic State and insists that all of the violence is homegrown.

Despite the government’s rejection of Islamic State involvement, the group warned that the violence would continue until Islamic law was established worldwide, saying in a video that the Dhaka assault was just a hint of what was to come.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her administration was firm in its resolve. “We will not allow any kind of terror activities on our soil,” Hasina said at her official residence on Thursday. -Reuters

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